Un storia by Steve Timm
|Un storia||Steve Timm||BlazeVOX [books]|
Steve Timm’s word spectrum is brave, unnerving, dazzling, commodious; with it he composes an elegantly minimalist poetics, humorously charted in one of the most satisfying TOCs I’ve read in a long time. Suggesting neo-Joycean abundance, it leads one instead to sculpted poems of unsparing leanness. They can be stunningly evocative, or comic, or wise, or serene, or any combination thereof. I.e., Un storia is a remarkable book. Its mixture of grace and daring (line breaks that are truly wake up calls!) gives enormous pleasure as it unyieldingly, good-naturedly plays with an impressive number of entrenched expectations.
If Clark Coolidge had a background in linguistics and Jack Spicer knew how to use the bassoon and Gertrude Stein had lived in a land of Swiss misses and misters instead of an atelier in Paris, we might get close to explaining Steve Timm’s poems and poetics. But then we’d be leaving out his love of puns—especially bad ones—his irritation with the dullards in charge, and his great ability to better explain the “living condition” by reversals and fractures of common sense. The title alone gets to one of the central ticks of Timm, with his usage of knowingly ungrammatical agreement between the Italian male article un and the female storia. Apart from the all too human humor of gendering words, he is highlighting a friction, or the fiction of friction, or the friction of fiction. He doesn’t like the easy and clean. If the Marx Bros. knew Spanish, if Jaap Blonk was American, etc. If the world were a soulful place with justice for all, and all for one, we probably wouldn’t need a him like Timm. But we do. Oh, Gawd, do we do.
A finery set of punctures you will not find. Steve Timm pinched these poems of poise and waggish flame right after leaving the first dawn bird factory where he’d been tinkering kerosene into arrows keening owl logic unseen and...scene. Timm’s Italian peeps are all thumbs smeared with memes—terse though language-lavish cue cards for the slalom tyre crawling salmon urgent down along you and your quote unquote erstwhile low road bones. Right now or by noon, you’ll be in the wine creek with the sound of an Italian gargling, which you will herald as all waterfall shortly or by noon. Or: There goes Steve Timm on a Vespa with orders from the thirsty to catch every raindrop on a contact lens that fell from the head of the last seer with the swerve gear, and the truth is Timm catches everyone, slakes everyone, sleight-of-hands a ringer where a rung groaned. Or: Go ask the straight road begging for an oxbow from Timm. Gather these here where you’ve found them on this olive, lava earth. If ever you should will a shelter worthy of this world’s crooked sky, let these poems remind you that velvet hammers feel too. Rarest medicine man, Timm heals you with the same stuff by which he wounds your rutted purl, which brings me around to the driving sail: all aquavit wit aside, the highest totem herein stands for aphoristic-grace-potlatch-heart. Finally, I have not read a more gifting collection in years.
Steve Timm is the author of a previous book, Disparity (available as an e-book from BlazeVOX.com), and three chapbooks (one of which, ’n’altra storio, is also available online at bathroommagazine.files.wordpress.com). He teaches English as a second language at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been studying Italian part-time and thanks his teachers for their patience and forbearance. For those qualities and so much more, he especially thanks his wife Sue, who started all of this in 2007 by saying, “Why not?”
· Paperback: 142 pages
· Binding: Perfect-Bound
· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books]
· ISBN: 978-1-60964-035-4
See also : Steven Timm's Disparity